CLEVELAND, Ohio – Larry Nance Jr. The last time he saw such a performance she is It was in Cleveland. At that time, Houston Rockets and James Harden came into town and scored 55 points. For Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff, Collin Sexton’s score mark at the end of the match made him return to his days with Harden in Houston. The Taurean Prince considered Kyrie Irving’s dazzling first game in Brooklyn, where he scored 50 points.
Cleveland became the epicenter of the NBA on Wednesday night. All eyes were on the Nets. It was Irving’s first match in two weeks. The start of the league’s newest Big Three.
But on a pitch with some of the NBA’s brightest stars (Harden, Irving, and Kevin Durant), no one was brighter than Sexton.
It was his arrival – he came into the national spotlight from the uncertainty he played for the cellar resident Cavs and as the cornerstone of the league’s most pleasant surprise.
“I don’t pay enough attention to what’s going on in the league to know the perception about him. But I don’t know if I’m watching it and what year this is for me – 17 or 18 – that’s not normal. He’s not a normal NBA player. “Bickerstaff is a dynamic striker,” he told cleveland.com after a 147-135 double extended win. “We have to win more games and put it in a position to close more games where people respect what they can do and what they can do. This is our responsibility and goal. I think the more he makes the moments when moments matter most, the more people will respect him. “
Not a better moment than Wednesday.
He returned in his first game after a five-game absence due to an ankle sprain. Cavs have a chance to return to the .500 mark after hitting an injury-filled rough patch. It’s just after Kevin Porter Jr., considered by many to be the most natural talent of Cleveland’s young nucleus and exiled for being unprofessional. Against the Nets, the NBA’s fascinating super team and one of the championship favorites. Against Irving, he is the honored guest of the night – the two forever bound together – which has an extensive catalog of brutal shots and whose commercial demand in 2017 eventually led to Sexton’s arrival.
“I’m in Cleveland, I’m wearing number 2 and I’m wearing Kyrie. This will be linked together. I just gotta get it. I can’t control what people say, but I can control what I’m doing, ”Sexton admitted. It was nice to go against him tonight. I absolutely accepted the challenge and knew it would not be easy. The simple fact that she is Kyrie comes to you ready every night and tonight was a good night. “
This is a shortcoming. Try it remarkably. Unforgettable. One of the best individual performances in franchise history. A masterpiece of 42 points that includes 20 straight for the Cavs during a scalding stretch, 22 combined points in both overtime and 15 of the team’s 20 points in double overtime as Sexton shoots all over the floor.
Joining LeBron James in the past two decades, he became the second Cavs player to score 20 points in a row.
As Sexton’s 3-point bombs continued to bury Brooklyn late, Irving couldn’t help but giggle and smiled. Durant shook his head. Sexton’s teammates became ballistics.
It was just burning tonight. He was unconscious. He was out of his mind. He was doing all the shots. “It was nice to watch, Cedi Osman, who scored 25 points while Sexton skimmed the pass and balanced the attack early”. You can see that there are many differences with Collin’s game. Obviously last year (it was good) and this year is even better. “
“The shot got to a point where I was talking nonsense before it even hit,” Jarrett Allen said after his first match against the Cavs’ former team. I didn’t know it had any of these in it. I heard he was going to Boston once but this was another level. “
“Trust is something the child is not missing… and for good reason,” Nance said.
The game tied at the end of the rule after Irving’s retreat, while the Cavs took a break. There was no doubt what Bickerstaff wanted. He put the ball in Sexton’s hands, moved a little with Isaac Okoro and Osman, and let Sexton go one-on-one against Irving. Only Sexton dribbled the ball in his leg – a costly mistake at an inopportune time that gave the Nets a chance to win the game.
Sexton didn’t look at the pouting or queue, which was a bad habit early in his career. He went back to defense and drew what appeared to be a foul to Irving using it. The game was knocked down after Steve Nash’s challenge and the two teams gathered in midfield for a bounce ball that killed the rest of the clock.
Sexton had a few more tough items during overtime – missed flight, turnstile and 3s – but his tip with 10.7 seconds cut Brooklyn’s win to one.
“Young Bull really saved me in that game,” Osman said of airball. This was also a great game. It kept us in the game. “
Then Sexton threw a cold-blooded dagger with 1.2 left into Irving’s face. This bucket, similar to some of Irving’s last players with the Cavs, effectively sent the compelling showdown to a second OT.
That’s when Sexton exploded.
“He was tired,” said Bickerstaff, laughing. “Somehow, he somehow agreed to shoot himself. When you have men who can do this, you become a much better coach. Don’t overthink or overdo it. Let Collin be Collin and take us home. She’s done it.”
Despite some of Sexton’s stumbles, Bickerstaff never thought of walking away from him while the Nets changed everything late.
“Where we are aggressive with the bodies we now have, it needs to be a focus,” Bickerstaff said. He can beat your man. It can put pressure on defense. They know what game to play, they know which set to run. It was almost a playoff game. Can you beat the playoffs man? We’re sure you can beat Collin’s man. He was literally trying to get him in a position where he could go and play a one-on-one basketball game. “
So what was Bickerstaff thinking at that point?
“Old Doug Collins clip – give the ball to Michael (Jordan) and get out of the way,” Bickerstaff said. “Give him time to do his job.”
Sexton saved the Cavs from wasting a 14-point lead, answering every shot Brooklyn’s trio made, and continuing to prove their doubts wrong.
In his rookie year, Sexton fought with his teammates’ readiness and unnecessary biting remarks that some believed came because of his place of selection. He gained a reputation as a bad shooter, the draft choice the Cavs had to trade in order to get another now win-win player to chase a title in LeBron’s final season. Then came constant conversation about assists totals and “natural” position.
When Sexton ended the 2019-20 season with an angry scoring rush that put him next to some of the conference’s top players, he was supposedly not counted because he came at the end of the season at a time when the opponent didn’t care. Because “someone had to score on a bad team” or because the Cavs were not good enough to win matches, making those blank numbers – none of these factors are Sexton’s fault.
At this point, the critics run out of things to say.
“Whatever the reason, and I didn’t arrive early, there’s a story about Collin,” Bickerstaff told cleveland.com. We are incredibly lucky to have it. I’m looking at his ability to put the ball in the basket, and there aren’t many men in our league who can do what he does. There are 20 men, like 480, or whatever the number, he can do what he does. Then there is a smaller group of guys who can do what they do in moments of pressure.
“The hard part for Collin, and that’s just the circumstances, because of the record we’ve had in the past, she didn’t live most of those moments. She has the ability to dominate those moments. It’s not for everyone. It’s just not. There are dynamic strikers and great players. But in those moments everyone is hers. None of us are perfect, right? But Collin doesn’t deserve what she said about her. “
Few players have the ability to shoot with KD, Kyrie, and Harden to the thumb, for the shot. Sexton did it. After destroying the Cavaliers’ championship hopes, not many cannot turn Irving’s much-anticipated return to Cleveland into a footnote. Sexton did it.
This is not new. It has been doing it since last December. Wednesday was the night Sexton finally forced everyone to stand up and get their attention.
And change their imperfect perceptions.
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